The first day on the wall is always an exciting one. It marks the beginning of the visible transformation process of the mural. Aside from the friends and family members who had to listen to the multiple design concepts and witnessed the developmental design stages, the first day is “the beginning” of the mural for the many members of the public. This particular day was a new experience for me as I was the only member of the team who had previous experience in mural painting.
The morning started off with the fitting together of the 2 x 3 ft. full-scale versions of the design against the wall.
Doing this allowed us to get an idea of what the actual design will look like once it has been transferred to the wall. It was a very important exercise as the everyone was able to be objective and observe the inconsistencies (especially in the size and shape of the lettering) in each others attempts once it was all fitted together as a whole.
It helped to tune their eyes and minds as they made observations, and noted the areas they needed to pay attention when assessing their efforts and our overall progress.
As the lecturers (Lee-Andra Thompson and Vonnie Roudette) prepared the design sections and organized the paints we would need the following day, the team was left to grid the wall. We began drawing the grid once the final decisions were made about the position of the mural in relation to the edges of the wall: 9” from the top, 2 ft. from the vertical edge. The purpose of the grid is to help increase accuracy when scaling up the design i.e. transferring the design from the paper to the wall.
Usually a grid composed of 1 ft. squares is used when transferring the design. However this may vary, just as the scale may vary, depending on the composition of the mural. For this mural we used a grid composed of 6″ x 6″ squares to maintain a consistency in the size of the lettering when transferring the design. Since the mural will be 12 x 6 ft., our grid consisted of 288 6″ squares.
I found myself taking the lead and explaining what needed to be done to some of the other team members. We aimed to have the grid completed by noon. The gridding exercise reinforced the importance of precision, accuracy of measurement and observation. It helped in improving our understanding of relationships (each 6″ square is a part of the larger 12 x 6 ft. rectangle) as we had to pay attention to the surrounding points and lines in order to make sure our measurements were accurate.
The exercise was also good as we strengthened our trust in each other. We had to rely on each other to get the job done, which meant trusting that each other’s measurements were correct. This also meant that each of us double, triple and quadruple checked our own measurements to reduce the likelihood of errors. Despite a few set backs we managed to get the grid up within two hours, and finished a few minutes after 12:00 pm.
I was able to get to know everyone better (I’m sure they also got to know themselves better) as we all helped to get the task done. They all made concerted efforts to get their designated sections done accurately, while exhibiting new sides of their character. Within a few days (since the mural maintenance activity) their level of observation, concentration and patience improved significantly.
Based on our observations of the shadow this morning, we have 5 – 6 hours each day during which we can work comfortably before the sun gets unbearable. By 12:00 pm the sun is directly over head and beats down the wall. This is by far the hottest location in which I have done a mural – even hotter than being on the wall Uptown for the Our Living Heritage mural. In order to beat the heat we will be back on the wall tomorrow morning by 6:30 am.
One Big Bless Up to Anjali’s dad, Mr. Ramgoolam, for the hazard cones and caution tape.